10 Year Old Gangsters
As I was driving home from school to my house in the Glendale neighborhood of Salt Lake City, I saw the usual things around my neighborhood. There was graffiti on the walls of the bathrooms at the park; I see a group of kids dressed in the same color shirts with their pants almost below their waist just doing no good. There are kids as young as 10 years old already putting there lives in danger. Why won’t the parents do anything about it?
On September 22nd Juvenile Court Judge Andrew Valdez spoke at Mountain View Elementary School in Glendale about keeping kids out of gangs. Whenever he had kids in his courtroom, he asked the kids parents if they knew about what the offense was and if they knew who their friends were. The answer that he mostly hears for both of them was no. Most parents don’t know what their kids are doing until it comes to the time that they have to go to court. That is why he went and spoke to the parents of 9, 10 and 11 year olds. He wanted them to be aware that they could be victims of gangs and this is a big problem. It is best to guide them into positive directions such as sports and activities.
“It is up to you to make sure they choose the right group. You have the power to determine which way your child is going”
Valdez also said,
“You can give me all the probation officers, cops, resources and programs in the world. But the one thing that makes a difference in a child’s life is a mentor”
The people that make a difference in kids’ lives really are there parents and older siblings. I have a younger brother and my mom tells me he really looks up to me. He is at the age where there is a lot of peer pressure.
Kids start to try to fit in with different groups at about age 9; it can be sports, music and art groups. If they don’t receive the support they need they may turn to gangs where they think they are in the right group.
“I don’t want to see you in court.”
Valdez told the parents.
He wanted them to support their children if they like something; he was once an at-risk street kid until he tried tennis. This had him become the respected judge he is now.